Author of Balfour Declaration - 1898 diplomatic credentials, for talks with Germany |
Chancellor of the Exchequer letters patent of Gladstone, 1873
Swedish gold and bronze medals honoring Viktor Balck | Viktor Balck 1912 Stockholm Olympics book Tower and Sword collar of Viktor Balck
Civil War Gillmore Medal to Jewish officer who helped 1863 "Glory" charge toward Ft. Wagner 1863
Statesmen |Koerber - 1920s friend, then foe of Hitler |The Viktor von Koerber WWI Aviation Archive|
Presentation keys, gold medal to major U.K. statesman Award Documents to important 19th century European diplomats
The JFK and staffers convention badges etc. Archive: I.D. Badges to JFK and Secretary Ev Lincoln Mass. Labor Federation badge (major speech) 1960 Democratic Nomination campaign: aide Bob Troutman
Heroines | "Girl who defied Hitler" at 1936 Olympics: biography Inge Sorensen Archive: items First ever (gold NYC) Women's Club Medal of Honor Award Diplomas to great Jewess opera singer
The Poignant Mayer family Jewish Heroism for (in WWI) and Flight from (pre-WWII) Germany Archive
Presentation trowel etc. to president of "philanthropic" society for troubled girls
Timeline of highlights of Pritt's career: historic events, awards and
1927 Pritt becomes a King's Councillor (permit to practice before all of Britain's high courts).
1931-32 Pritt defends Ho Chi Minh before the Privy Council.
1933 Reichstag Fire gives Hitler excuse to crush civil liberties in Germany; Pritt leads London
"Counter-trial" probe into the Fire, its Findings boosting anti-Nazi activism worldwide.
1936 Churchill begins to speak effectively vs. Nazi threat.
1937 Pritt resigns as Chairman of Bentham Committee for Poor Litigants, gets testimonial album.
1945 WWII ends with Nazis' defeat; surviving leaders tried, with Pritt's Findings used as evidence on
Nazi role in Reichstag Fire.
1946 Pritt receives Reopening medal of Humboldt University of Berlin, visits USSR
1954 Pritt wins Lenin Peace Prize.
1957 Pritt, on his 70th birthday, receives Leipzig Honorary Citizenship, and presentation box of
Reichstag Fire photos from the Union of Democratic Jurists of Germany.
1959-60 Pritt defends seven Communists in the Peace Trial in Dusseldorf.
1960 Pritt awarded (E.) German Peace medal, honorary law degrees from U. of Sofia, Humboldt
University of Berlin.
1963 Pritt awarded E. German Fighter against Fascism medal.
1965 Celebrations of Leipzig 800 years: Pritt receives Georgi Dimitrov Museum presentation album,
white porcelain disk.
1969 Pritt receives Joliot-Curie Peace Medal, Soviet Peace Committee medal.
1972 Pritt dies; widow receives presentation photo album from Georgi Dimitrov Museum.
Awards of Outstanding International Importance to Statesmen and Heroines
Denis Pritt, 1949
For at least a few generations, controversy has raged among historians about the conclusion (detailed in Pritt's Findings on the Reichstag Fire) about a Nazi plot to maunfacture an excuse to destroy civil liberties in Germany. The politicization of this controversy is becoming a vivid microcosm of the increased polarization in the US and elsewhere in the West; the Left generally sees him as a maligned hero, the Right sees him as at best a Red dupe.
His “deep human sympathies, which have made him a person with whom even his most determined political enemies … have been glad to know....” -- Times Literary Supplement
"For us, the exemplary role played by the two lawyers of the Anglo-American legal tradition in the London commission has stood the test of time. Despite the accusation against the London commission of “Communist propaganda” from the Nazis in the ’30s and Tobias in the ’60s, D. N. Pritt, K.C., and Arthur Garfield Hays would be acknowledged today in the legal community as among the leading U.S. and U.K. lawyers of the first half of the twentieth century."
-- Michael E. Tigar (of Duke U. Law School) and John Mage, referring to the 1933 Reichstag Fire "Counter-trial" in London
Cover of Ballantine book;
The D.N. Pritt, Q.C., Fighter vs. Fascism Archive
P.O. Box 300791, Chicago, IL 60630, USA
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Publicity about Pritt's Findings inspired international alarm about Nazism, as expressed on this Spanish worker's rights poster (shown here for representation only, copy not incl. in Archive).
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Pritt is commemorated today in the annual D N Pritt Memorial Lecture of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, which is the British equivalent of the US National Lawyers Guild.
Presentation photo album to Mrs Marie Pritt, as a memento of her visit to the USSR, V.O.K.S. ("Society for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries"), Moscow June-July 1946, containing photos of Pritt and his wife in the USSR.
(Pritt was the Chairman of the Reichstag Fire "Counter-trial" Commission of Inquiry in London, held 21-28 September 1933, the Findings of which was so well received by the Press, that it was the first legal document to begin turning international opinion against Hitler. These Findings exposed the injustice of the Nazis' trial in Leipzig of three Bulgarian Communists (incl. Georgi Dimitrov, later the first Prime Minister of Communist Bulgaria), who were dubiously charged, and ultimately acquitted, with conspiring to start the Fire. This Leipzig trial was arguably the Trial of the Century. The 27 Feb. 1933 Fire shocked Germans, and was used by Hitler to justify his infamous, immediate suspension of most civil liberties.
For his role in these events, Pritt received a number of honors.)
Georgi Dimitrov, exonerated by Pritt's Findings of Nazi charges of having plotted the Fire; later Prime Minister of Bulgaria
chapter title page, showing Pritt
reading panel's Findings to the press
Pritt (center) and colleagues on the Reichstag Fire
Commission, London, 1933
Bentham Committee for Poor Litigants, testimonial album, two pages of caligraphic text, three pages of signatures; bound in vellum with gilt-embossed cover to Pritt, who was Chairman from 1929 until 1937, when he resigned the position.
Presentation folder "Erinnerung an den Friedensprozess in Düsseldorf vom 10. November 1959 bis 8. April 1960" ("In memory of the Peace Trial in Dusseldorf..."). Signed by 7 men who were tried for breaking W. Germany's anti-Communist law (and who appear in an attached photo) whose unsuccessful defense was co-led by Pritt. Accompanied by a scholarly book about this particular trial, pub. 2005.
Presentation folder (w/ green cover) containing photo of 16 men & 3 women, + handwritten inscription translating roughly as "In memory of the visit of the brigade "D.N. Pritt", Leipzig, 30 May 1969".
Bronze medallion, 68 mm. diameter, w/ profile of Ho Chi Minh, & inscription "Viet Nam Dan Chu Cong Hoa" [Constitution of the Dem. Republic of Viet Nam] "Ho Chi Minh", in case of issue.
P.O. Box 300791, Chicago, IL 60630, USA
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Denis Nowell Pritt, (1887-1972) Queen’s Councillor (U.K.) had an international legal career that stretched from the 1920’s to the 1960’s. He was arguably the most persistent Leftist political gadfly of his day anywhere in the world (save for Bertrand Russell, who did not practice law); only William Kunstler compares to Pritt in this respect. He earned the prestigious legal title King’s Councillor, which allowed him to practice before even the highest courts, in 1927.
His greatest claim to fame was his service as chairman of the international Commission of Enquiry into the Reichstag Fire of 1933, which was organized in London by a group of lawyers, democrats and other anti-Nazi groups under the aegis of German Communist émigrés. The Nazis blamed the fire on Communists, and used this purported Communist conspiracy to justify their suspension of liberties guaranteed in the Constitution of the Weimar Republic; the Pritt Findings asserted that the Communists could not have started the fire, and that the Nazis probably were the culprits. The Pritt Commission Findings came to the attention of the German authorities in time to thwart the Nazi’s effort to frame a group of Communists on charges of having set the fire; Hitler was not yet ready to blatantly defy world opinion on what was for him not a vital interest. The Communists’ acquittal in the trial in Leipzig was hailed as the last major victory for justice in Germany until Hitler’s death. This Commission’s report was the first major expose’ of Nazi tactics to have a major impact upon public opinion toward the Nazi threat, in Western countries, and helped inspire much anti-Nazi activism.
Only years later would Churchill clearly play a leading role in the anti-Nazi movement. No doubt on the heels of his role in the Counter-trial, Pritt won election as a Labour Party candidate for a seat in Parliament in 1935, and he would win reelection in a landslide over both a Labour and a Tory candidate in 1945, thereby earning public congratulations from Mao Tse Tung. He lost his seat in the 1950 election. He has been viewed by the Western Right as a classic "fellow traveler", but was never a member of the Communist Party.
Apart from his Reichstag Fire role, Pritt had the general reputation as an ace lawyer, whose services were provided, often pro bono, to victims of political prosecutions, as when he defended the likes of Jomo Kenyatta, Julius Nyerere, and Ho Chi Minh from prosecution by colonial authorities. In the 1931 Ho Chi Minh case, a French request for extradition was blocked, which, had it been upheld, would almost certainly led to the execution of the eventual Vietnamese leader. His services were in the highest demand from business interests, but he would never take a case against “the little guy”.
Humboldt University of Berlin, Hon. Doctorate of Law 12 November 1960: parchment scroll in leather tube and presentation box; photos of him receiving award.
Humboldt University of Berlin, 1946 Reopening medal (obverse showing Humboldt brothers); bronze, 69 mm., in case of issue.
Presentation photo album for 150th Anniversary of Humboldt University, from the faculty of the Law school, 11 November 1960.
"Universitas Litterarum Serdicensis", Hon. Doctorate of Law, U. of Sofia 12 October 1960: Illuminated vellum scroll, text in Cyrillic and Latin, in tube; with photos of presentation.
Bulgaria, Order of National Freedom 1941-1944, 1st Class, in case of issue.
Magnetic tape "Anklagefsch.rift in der Straffache gegen Van der Lubbe v. Genossen 15J86.33", (recording of the proceedings in "the case of Van der Lubbe vs. Society") and book containing transcript of tape's contents, all in leather bound presentation box (244 x 386 x 39 mm.) with gilt-embossed arms of Leipzig. (Van der Lubbe was the man convicted and executed for starting the 1933 Reichstag Fire.)
Diploma (1963) for E. German Medaille für Kampfer Gegen den Faschismus 1933-45, ("Fighter against Fascism") in folder; medal, in case of issue; photo of him receiving award.
Porcelain white disk, 89 mm. diameter, celebrating Leipzig 800 yrs. (1165-1965), in green (felt?) case of issue, w/ Leipzig arms on cover.
Leipzig presentation photo album for the 800th anniersary celebrations 1165-1965, with 43 pages of photos of events at the Georgi Dimitrov Museum, incl. photos showing Pritt there. First page is inscribed "Herrn Kronanwalt Professor D. N. Pritt... zur Erinnerung an die Widerstand der ständigen Ausstellung... des Georgi Dimitrov Museums am... 25.9.1965" (Mr. Queen's Councillor Professor D.N. Pritt, at the remembrance of the reopening of the permanent exibition of the Georgi Dimitrov Museum....").
Porcelain chocolate-colored disk, 92 mm. diameter (in case of issue) depicting "Völkerschlacht Denkmal Leipzig", the monument commemorating the 1813 Battle of Leipzig, in which Napoleon's defeat led to his fall from power in 1814.
Georgi Dimitrov Museum, Leipzig, presentation photo album: "DENIS NOWELL PRITT, HONORARY CITIZEN OF THE CITY OF LEIPZIG, A GREAT FRIEND OF THE GEORGI DIMITROV MUSEUM"; with 16 photos, of Pritt's visits to the Museum (1957-1970) and of a Memorial gathering held there after his death in 1972.